Interview with Rima Danielle Jomaa: Sharing Her Thoughts on Playing Hard To Get, Escaping the Friend Zone and Much More
1. A number of our women subscribers ask us, how important is chemistry for a relationship to succeed long term and can chemistry grow over time?
Chemistry, as the name implies, takes precise measuring and calculating.
Relationships are like high school chemistry class; certain solvents may experience a binding energy when combined, leading to a chain reaction of heat, synthesis, and saturation of positive hormones. The chemistry between two people definitely must grow over time if the relationship is to experience any longevity.
A relationship that experiences intense amounts of chemistry initially may have a short half life, and may begin to decay.
What began as the ideal solution (in Chemistry terms), may end up decomposing if the structure that was put into place is not nurtured. They must learn to maintain a balance of that chemistry, or else the absence of or inevitable dilution of the chemistry can cause volatility and they might each combust. It is important to adequately observe what it is that our partner likes and appreciates and to do those things frequently or we risk that they will dissociate from the bond.
We must also separate chemistry from the “honey moon” phase, which are the intense feelings we get in a new relationship, immediately believing that person is perfect and “the one”, until reality sets it.
What one must understand is that there is NO perfect relationship and that each person must work hard to maintain the chemistry. Each partner likes to be shown love in different ways.
Finding out about your partner’s love style and then showing them love in the way they like to be shown love is important in maintaining chemistry throughout the relationship.
It is like the pH balance of the body; we must work hard to only put healthy things into our body while keeping the unhealthy things out in order to maintain a proper pH balance. It is a daily maintenance routine, just as with our relationships. We must take responsibility for our relationship, instead of diffusing responsibility onto the other (“He’s not meeting MY needs,” “She never listens to what I say!”)
Our Self and well-being, our partner’s Self and well-being, and the relationship must be top priority over other aspects of life, if it is to be taken seriously and to be fulfilling for a lifetime.
2. So what are saying is that a great chemistry does not necessarily mean the relationship will succeed in long term and at the same time a relationship where you feel there is not much chemistry may grow over time. We get questions from our readers where they talk about their guy friend having a crush on them but they feel they don’t have chemistry. However they acknowledge their friend to be trustworthy and someone who they can always count on. There are some women who do want to date their friend but are afraid of what would happen if things don’t work out.
What would your advice be for women in this situation?
Although not everyone would agree with what I am going to say on this topic, I feel it is a simple way to approach relationships. If there’s doubt, get out.
If you have spent countless hours with someone and aren’t sure if you want to have a romantic relationship with them, that doesn’t bode well for the future in my eyes. If you do want to date your friend and there is no doubt, then evaluate the pros and cons. The pros are the possibility of having an amazing, lasting, fulfilling relationship with someone whom you love and respect.
On the other hand, you could potentially lose a best friend.
Whenever faced with the decision of whether or not I’d like to date someone, I look at it this way. If I enter into a relationship with somebody, there are only two options that can result from that relationship in the long run.
Either 1) we move forward, get married, and enjoy life together; or 2) you break up with one another and deal with the consequences of falling out. So that’s it, really.
When you date someone, it’s all or nothing. You end up together or you don’t. Either way, there are consequences in your social group. Take the time to evaluate these outcomes, then decide if it is worth it for you to move forward and pursue a relationship. If it’s worth it, there most likely won’t be any questions about it.
3. On the other hand, we also have women who are very keen to have a relationship with their guy friend but their guy friend sees them more as a friend. Do you have any advice on things women can do to get out of the friend zone?
Getting out of the friend zone can be tricky.
When a guy perceives a girl in a friendly way, it may be difficult to sway that perception. It is not impossible, however.
First, you must make the decision to be one or the other.
Either you are friends with your guy friend, or you want to proceed to be more. You must make the conscious decision while understanding that you could ruin your friendship if things don’t work out.
Also, you must understand the difference between “hooking up” and pursuing a relationship.
Your guy friend may not be interested in a relationship, but he may be keen on the idea of a physical relationship. I would strongly advise against this. You leave yourself vulnerable and you risk being used, abused, and thrown away. If this were to happen, you’d be worse off than where you started because your guy friend will likely perceive you to be easy.
That being said, do not give in to any sexual activity until you are officially dating.
To approach the topic of dating, you have to be brave and go out on a limb. Once you have made all of the above decisions and decide to proceed, it’s time to request your friend’s time one-on-one and to ask them on a date! This will look different for everyone in every situation. You have to understand that your friend might say “no” and that your friendship could be affected.
Remember, you understand and accept all of this BEFORE proceeding to this next step.
If the thought of losing your friend is too much to bear and not worth the shot at a relationship, it’s not worth proceeding.
4. A common problem that we hear from a number of our women subscribers is when they are dealing with men who tend to blow hot and cold. They are initially attracted to the warmth and attention from these kind of men and in the end when the women reciprocate they tend to take a step back.
This can happen at different points in a relationship- sometimes after a few dates when they don’t return phone calls or respond to text messages, at other times it happens after having sex and for some it happens when the relationship starts becoming serious. A question that we get asked a lot is why does this happen and what should they do to pull him back instead of pushing him away.
Can you share your thoughts and advice?
I can only make assumptions as to why this happens. I can also speak from experience when guy friend divulge their secrets and feelings to me.
When men feel more in control, they are more apt to be affectionate and to pursue a woman.
After things begin to move along, they may not know what a woman is feeling and may feel out of control. When this happens, they wait for women to come to them (perhaps to feed their ego). It’s a delicate balance at this stage because as a woman, you don’t want to be too eager, but you also want the man to feel confident and have a sense of control.
Having open, simple communication about goals and expectations for the future can aid in this situation.
Lastly, although it’s harsh, some guys behave this way when they’re not interested in a long-term relationship and are just casually dating.
Men and women view dating differently with different expectations, and this can affect each partner’s behaviors. Getting clear and on the same page can quell this.
5. Some women tend to fall too quickly for men they really like and as a result they tend to do too many things for him. We have often heard from these women that they are so much in love that they can’t stop thinking of him or doing things for him or being with him always. But they often find that when they do too much, they tend to overwhelm and turn off men.
What are the pitfalls of a relationship that progresses too quickly and do you have any advice for women that can help them better pace their relationship?
A common theme throughout my advice is to simply be in the moment and focus on yourself first.
Nothing is more attractive to a man than a woman who is in control of her own affairs and has things booming and moving. A man has a lot of things on his mind, and he doesn’t want to always have to worry about entertaining his partner and worrying about their feelings (I’m not saying in a common relationship sense, but in an overt anxiety sense).
Obviously, he should worry about his partner’s feeling, but men don’t want to have to provide you with interests and hobbies as most have hobbies of their own.
Take care of you own affairs and come to the relationship with balance.
Handle things that concern you both, and only interfere in things he explicitly asks for help with. Otherwise, you risk coming across as invasive and as a nag.
6. I have read a few experts that recommend playing hard to get as a means to woo men and retain their attention. Can you share your thoughts and talk about your views on playing hard to get to attract men?
I like to reframe “playing hard to get” as “exuding confidence”.
The reason men are attracted to a woman who exudes confidence is for many reasons. In a lot of ways, it is an unconscious attraction.
Simply, human beings are attracted to the chase of what they cannot have, but more so than that, a man likes a challenge.
By its mere existence, an ego is something that needs to be stroked, and men typically have big ones. It’s more fulfilling to their egos if they have to work hard to attain something that isn’t easily available to them. It lays the foundation for the longevity of the relationship as well as the man will always know he had to fight and work hard to attain you. This part is the part he knows, but his imagination will have him running wild.
Being “easy to get”, in contrast, leaves nothing to a man’s imagination.
If you throw yourself at him, he doesn’t have to work hard and will most likely lose interest in you quickly as his mind wanders to the next challenge. A man wants to imagine that there were hundreds or thousands of men, even, vying for your attention and affection and that HE is the ONLY PERSON you CHOSE to be with. Then, it’s meaningful. If you throw yourself at him, who else have your thrown yourself at and been rejected by?
If a man has a harder time trying to pin you down or getting you to agree on going on a date with him, he will imagine it’s because you have so many choices to choose from (possibly better choices, he may fear), and his ego will be intrigued to capture you, so to speak.
When he does attain you, he will imagine it’s because he is number one of all of your (imagined?) suitors. He never has to know he might have been the only one pursuing you at the time!
7. What advice would you have for women who have not dated for a long time? This may be women who have been so busy with their careers that they haven’t had the time or women who are coming out of a break up or a divorce after a long marriage. They are usually anxious, nervous and find dating quite intimidating and uncomfortable.
What changes do women need to make to conquer their fears and actually start to enjoy meeting men than seeing it as a chore?
Living in LA, I’ve found that a lot of my female clients tend to find it difficult to make new girl friends in this city. I usually compare it to dating, and I feel it works both ways. Making new friends is like dating, and dating is like making new friends.
Practice making a new friend before you practice dating.
Spark up a conversation with the woman you always practice yoga next to but perhaps never had time after class to talk to. See what it feels like as you create a conversation with a stranger and find mutual interests.
If you have a connection, maybe ask her to lunch or drinks, just as you might do with a potential date (or what he might do with you)!
It sounds silly, but you can build your confidence by simply practicing the art of meeting new people. If this whole process or part of it feels awkward to you (maybe you have had the same friends your whole life and haven’t felt a need to make new friends), notice at what point it feels awkward for you. Some people are naturally social and others are not.
Recognize that you might find these same areas difficult when starting to date as well.
Of course, dating and making new friends are different situations with different emotions involved and different parts of the brain being activated, but intuitively, I believe that creating friendship and connection is similar no matter what gender you are engaging with.
A connection is something organic, and knowing what to do after that connection is sparked is usually the difficult part for people (rather than finding that connection with people to begin with).
8. Can you share your thoughts on delaying sex until women get to really know a man? Some experts I have talked to especially warn against having sex on the first date because it creates a sense of pseudo-intimacy that prevents women from seeing things objectively.
For women who are interested in having a long term committed relationship, would you recommend that they delay having sex until they get to know the man and have him commit to exclusivity?
I would absolutely recommend this. It goes back to what I was saying about leaving some things to the imagination.
Men and women tend to have different goals when dating.
Though I am not a man and don’t know exactly what drives a man to date, I have heard from male friends that most men date with the intention of having sex. Sex is the end goal for a lot of men. Finding someone to enter into a relationship with might be a perk of dating, should that person come around.
Women tend to date with the goal of entering into an exclusive relationship.
We can see from these differences in goals that having sex too soon can cause a man to walk away. If his end goal is sex, and you have sex with him, then that’s the end. He will move on to find the next conquest.
If you wait to have sex, you might be that special person that he considers beginning a relationship with.
He will find himself thinking about you when you’re not around and fantasizing about you. If he wants you badly enough, he will have to commit to the next step.
Women who have sex quickly leave nothing for a man to ponder or fantasize about.
Instead of imagining what you look like naked, what you might be like in bed, he will be wondering how many other men you jumped in the sack with before you were in a relationship.
He might think you are easy or cheap, and wouldn’t want to claim you as his woman. If you make him wait, he will imagine that you are hard to get and that others have tried and failed (since you aren’t in a relationship with everyone). Then you become an exclusive gift for him to open when he makes a commitment to you (so to speak).
9. Another common question we frequently get asked from our readers is when they should talk about marriage in a relationship. Some of our subscribers would like to get married soon, start a family and are quite wary of a ticking biological clock. For them, time is crucial and they don’t want to waste their time with the wrong men. Some men when asked about marriage respond “Maybe, some day I want to get married” or “Yes, I want to get married some day in the future.” Women are not quite sure whether they should wait or if they should move on when they hear this response.
What would your advice be for women in this situation?
I believe this goes back to goals with dating.
Men like having someone to have sex with on a consistent basis, and a relationship serves this function.
While the woman may be viewing the relationship as the logical first step towards something bigger, the man may just be moving merrily along in his life without considering the woman’s needs.
Sadly, this is exactly how a neighbor of mine treats women. He finds women with whom he is compatible with and then they begin to date. Although he is in his early 30s and most women he dates are late 20s/early 30s, he has zero intention of marrying them.
Six months to a year into these relationships, when the topic of marriage inevitably arises from the women, this neighbor bails as soon as he can. I have talked to him about leading them on and how it isn’t fair, but he doesn’t care. They serve his needs for the time and then he moves on to the next sad victim. He’s done it over and over and over and doesn’t see how his behavior is deplorable. He’s an otherwise okay guy, he just doesn’t seem to understand the urgency some women feel in this area.
I have found that when the time and feeling is right, the conversation of marriage is natural.
It isn’t contrived or scary, because both partners can feel inside that it is right. If the topic of marriage has never come up (not necessarily regarding you, but in general) or if you have no clue what your partner’s views on marriage are, that’s a warning sign. My best advice in this situation is to run away.
When in doubt, get out.
When my partner and I started dating, we knew within the first month that we wanted to be married, and we talked about it.
Neither of us had cared about being married before, nor had we searched for a marriage partner. He had been in numerous long-term relationships, though he didn’t even consider marrying those women. They were frustrated because they felt the next logical step would be marriage, but it was no where on his mind. He was just enjoying having a girl around at all times. It’s quite tragic, actually.
Improving communication skills prior to entering into a relationship can be beneficial.
While most women are afraid of scaring a man away with talks of marriage, I think scaring a man away that doesn’t want to be married is a positive thing. Why waste your time trying to trick someone into marrying you that isn’t invested in you? If marriage is something you want, make it your goal.
Be up front from the beginning that marriage is the goal of a relationship for you (be careful not to put pressure on the person, but just make it clear that it’s something you’d like and are searching for). Also, stand your ground.
Don’t have sex until he commits exclusively, and don’t move in with him until you are married, or at least until he proposes to you.
It’s the old saying, “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” It’s true! If you are already giving him all the perks of married life without the extra step of marriage, why should he want to make that next step?
10. Can you share your top 3 tips that can help women create better connection and commitment in their current relationships?
1. Be interested in his life.
Ask about work, especially details of things that may be bothering or upsetting him, if you notice something is wrong. Get in the habit of being your partner’s confidant. Most men have this perception that they cannot show emotion, which they think might be interpreted as weakness.
However, many prostitutes have reported than many men just want to talk and have an emotional connection that they may not find with their partners (for fear of being vulnerable). Focus on being his best friend when times are tough, instead of combating him and being in opposition with one another.
2. It sounds silly, but schedule time for one another.
Sometimes life can get hectic and relationships get put on the back burner. Plan a date doing something he loves, and try to get involved in some of his interests (don’t force anything that doesn’t feel natural, though). Or better yet, find something to do that you both enjoy and look forward to doing on the weekends. Be creative!
3. Little gestures go a long way.
Being happy means being happy in the moment… not in some unknown future that we cannot predict.
Find ways to connect in the moment; be extremely excited when he gets home from work (versus bitching that he forgot to take the trash out), cook his favorite meal if you enjoy cooking, tell him how handsome or sexy you think he is just because, how he’s the most amazing man and the only man for you, and tell him how your girlfriends envy the man you have in your life.
You know, stroke that ego a bit!! Make it a habit. He will likely remember how good these gestures feel and will want to reciprocate them to you.
About Rima Danielle Jomaa
Rima Danielle Jomaa moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to attend graduate school at Pepperdine University. She graduated with an M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2010. While in graduate education, Rima worked as a behaviorist and nutritionist, and was exposed to veganism as a lifestyle as well as a way to heal the body, mind, and soul. Her exploration of finding a community of like-minded people on-line led her to using social media for vaious things personally and professionally at a time when many people simply didn’t understand social media or the new marketing concepts it was creating.
Finding success quickly using social media, Rima started a company called the Social Medium (integrated into her current company Rep Vegan) where she teaches companies and professional organizations how to utilize social media and integrate branding and marketing strategies into their daily operations. Her background in psychology enables her to hear and understand each company’s individual voice to inform their online presence.
Rima is a YogaWorks 200-Hour Certified Yoga Instructor. For fun, Rima enjoys being active in the community in many various ways. She regularly practices yoga, meditates, surfs, bikes, hikes, skateboards, and cooks vegan cuisine. She is an advocate and an activist for animal rights and is passionate about nutrition education. Visit www.costarima.com to learn more about Rima, contact her, and see what she’s currently involved in.